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Posted on Jan 26, 2009 in admin | 34 comments

Food Blog Award & newspaper cover for Lunch in a Box

Food Blog Award & newspaper cover for Lunch in a Box


Vote in the Food Blog Awards 2008 Cover of Nichi Bei Times

Gong Hay Fat Choy and what a wild week this has been! The Well Fed Network announced the winners of the 2008 Food Blog Awards this morning, and amazingly, Lunch in a Box won the Best Theme category! To top that off, the site was also splashed across the front page of a local Japanese-American newspaper. A great way to start off the Chinese New Year. 

2008 Food Blog Awards

Congratulations to all of the finalists in the Food Blog Awards! There are so many quality blogs out there, and it’s an honor to be included for the second year in a row. Thanks also to the Well Fed Network for the huge task of hosting the awards.

The Best Theme category was the most competitive, voted-in category of all fourteen in the Awards, indicative of the loyal reader communities of all the nominees. This also marks the first time that a bento blog has won Best Theme, showing that we’re making it into the mainstream. Way to go! jskidmoreca noticed the win earlier this morning and posted the news over on the Lunch in a Box forum.

Karina’s Kitchen, a popular gluten-free food blog, came very close to winning Best Theme, and eleventh-hour voting surges on both sides made things more interesting. I felt a kinship with the gluten-free folks as I originally got into bento lunches when my husband was misdiagnosed with celiac disease and we ate gluten-free for nine months. Packing your own lunch is a way of life for people with food allergies, and I’ve learned a lot from the Japanese art of packing compact, visually appealing bento lunches.

I’m also excited that fellow Best Theme nominee Hank, over at Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, generously volunteered to teach me how to butcher a whole animal, so I may be driving up to Sacramento one of these days for an education!

I’d like to thank my readers, friends, family, my running club and the larger lunch-packing community for your support and encouragement. This award is a gift from you, and my resolution for this year is to write posts that are worthy of your attention. Looking back at recent posts, I notice that I’ve been focusing on bento community activities, contests and awards somewhat more than usual, straying from my main focus on speedy bento-packing and lunch food. Now that we’re through this cyclical blip, I’ll be looking to get back to basics.

If you have a moment, browse through the other sites that won and enjoy:

Food Blog of the Year (Overall) - Tartelette

Best Food Blog (Chef) - Tartelette

Best Food Blog (City) - Champaign Taste

Best Blog Covering Drinks (Alcoholic and Non-Alcoholic) - RumDood

Best Food Blog (Family/Kids) - Picky Palate

Best Food Blog (Group) - Apartment Therapy: The Kitchn

Best Food Blog (Humor) - Thursday Night Smackdown

Best Food Blog (Industry) - PigTrip

Best Food Blog (Photography) - Cannelle et Vanille

Best Food Blog (Post) -  “Polenta and Mushrooms and Love Past” - Tea & Cookies

Best Food Blog (Rural) - Farmgirl Fare

Best Food Blog (Theme) - Lunch In A Box

Best Food Blog (Writing) - Smitten Kitchen

Best New Food Blog - Apples and Butter

Nichi Bei Times Newspaper Article

Bento article in Nichi Bei Times

A couple of weeks ago I was interviewed by the Nichi Bei Times, a  Japanese-American weekly newspaper here in San Francisco. The journalist came to my house (uh oh, cleaning time!), took photos, and we chatted for a couple of hours about all things bento.

They invited me into their Japantown offices last Friday to pick up copies of the paper, mentioning that the article made the front page of the January 22-28 issue. I figured it would be a small blurb at most, so I was gobsmacked to see the Lunch in a Box headline and photos splashed across the cover like a fake newspaper you might have made up as a joke. (Click on either photo for a larger view, and here’s the full-text article on their site.)

This is the first time the site has ever made the cover story of anything! Totally unexpected, but I can see how bento lunches in America would be interesting for a Japanese-American audience. Welcome to new readers!

The story shows photos from my posts on how to make an octodog (octopus-shaped hot dog), how to mold hard-boiled eggs with ice cream sandwich molds, organizing your bento accessories, and the following five lunches:

Seeking a Sacramento Mom

I’m looking for a lunch-packing mom located in the Sacramento area for a bento-related surprise, courtesy of the Warm Olives bento blog. If you fit this description, please e-mail me at lunchinabox {AT] gmail [DOT} com and I’ll fill you in on the details.  [1/27 Update: Wendy from Sacramento e-mailed and I hooked her up with Kate from Warm Olives for a targeted giveaway. Thanks, Kate!]



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  2. w00t congrats on everything Biggie! Well done and well deserved!!! :)

  3. Congratulations, Biggie! You deserve it!

  4. congratulations! you’re definitely my favorite blog!

  5. Congratulations!!!

  6. Congrats! Boy was that a spirited vote! I am glad all of us have such committed readership — frankly I was really surprised that we out-voted the “Best Overall” section.

    As for butchering lessons, do you want to provide the animal or should I? If I do, the next whole (large) critter I expect to get is a lamb and a goat for one of our annual parties in April…

  7. Congratulations!!! I voted for you! I even visited the other sites just to make it “fare”! I love following you and what you are doing. You have inspired me to pack fun lunches for my kids.

  8. Congratulations to you!!

  9. Love the site. I have been using your tips and learning new ways to pack lunches for twin 3.5 boys. I have been trying to get registered for the forum because I bought some bento items and can’t figure out how to use them. I wanted to get some help from the forum. I signed up twice and have not been able to access the forum. I also never got an email verifying my registration. Thanks and I looking forward to joining the forum soon.

  10. Yay! I knew you would win!! I’ve been following your blog for a long time… it’s fun watching it grow and see you get recognized more and more ~ :) Congratulations!

  11. WOOT! Congrats!

  12. CONGRATS!!

  13. Congratulations! I enjoy reading your blog even though I don’t pack lunches anymore. Well deserved win.

  14. @6 from Hank: You said it on the voting! It was a real nail-biter — at first I didn’t realize we’d be able to see the votes as they rolled in (last year you couldn’t).

    I’ll email you separately to figure out logistics of the butchering lesson. I have no idea where to get a whole animal, but am willing to poke around to figure it out.

  15. Way to go Biggie! Wow I can say I knew you when….when you were just another bored and desparate housewife with a penchant for plastic lunchware. :) Hugs from us!

  16. great news! And great job on all the hard work :-)

    Interestingly enough, yours is the only blog I read on that list. Guess I have a couple more to add to my reader.


  17. Congratulations Biggie - you’ve worked hard, it’s nice to see you get rewarded :)

  18. WOW! Way to go, bento mama!

  19. I’m so happy for you! Congrats!

    I voted from home and work. shhhhh ;-)

  20. yokatta ne!! omedeto-!

  21. Congrats, Biggie! We really enjoy what you do here! You deserve this pat on the back!

  22. Congratulations!

    I love your website. I’m new to bento and find resources for everything I need here. Thanks for sharing all your great tips and know-how!

  23. So happy for you, Biggie! Well done!

  24. CONGRATS! I voted for you in this category - I love your blog! Keep up the awesome work! :)

  25. Congratulations! I’m so glad you won. I wish it was the top prize but just the same, cheers for getting frontpage in a newspaper. The Chinese New Year is truly starting great for you. I hope there’ll be more recognition to come for your blog. I always enjoy your posts.

  26. WIN!!!

    Congratulations - I voted for you ‘cos I get so much enjoyment out of your site. Also what a cool newspaper article!

  27. Congrats! You absolutely deserved the award. Your pictures and creativity are just awesome!

  28. Congrats! Woot!

  29. Congrats, your website has been very inspiring.

  30. Congratulations! :)

  31. GREAT WORK BIGGIE! & Belated Congratulations to you.
    You make Lunch in a Box such a warm and inviting place to learn and share bento?
    Sincere thanks.

  32. Congratulations, Biggie, You’ve earned it!

  33. Thanks everyone! I appreciate all the kind words. :-)